Former Rams quarterback Jared Goff comments on Lions trade


Competing emotions have come to quarterback Jared Goff like a complete blitz from every angle – sadness, confusion, frustration, hope, joy and gratitude – and his head is still spinning, days after the Rams traded him to the Lions of Detroit.

The deal that ended his time in Los Angeles surprised Goff, and reality is only beginning to take hold.

“In the end, they wanted to go in a different direction,” Goff, who is part of a blockbuster quarterback trade that sent Matthew Stafford to the Rams, said Tuesday. “As a quarterback, as a guy who is arguably the most important position on the pitch, if you’re in a place where you’re not wanted and they want to leave you, the feeling is mutual. .

“You don’t want to be in the wrong place. It became increasingly clear that this was the case. [The trade] is something that I hope will be so good for my career.

In a half-hour phone interview with The Times, Goff said he learned the trade immediately after it happened on Saturday night, two weeks after the Rams were knocked out of the NFL playoffs. in the divisional round by the Green Bay Packers.

It was an abrupt end to the first pick in the 2016 Draft, which made the Pro Bowl twice, and two years earlier he helped the Rams reach their first Super Bowl in 17 years.

“I really enjoyed my stay here,” said Goff, 26, “I want to leave this on a positive note. Obviously, the ending was not favorable and was not fun. But they drafted me No. 1 overall and brought me to a town that hasn’t had a football team for a long time, being part of that post-2016 rebuilding that can help bring football back to Los Angeles in the foreground, all of this I am extremely proud. It is something that I will always remember.

Rams quarterback Jared Goff (16) and running back Todd Gurley are preparing to take the field in 2019.

The Rams offense was once built around quarterback Jared Goff (16) and running back Todd Gurley, now with Detroit and Atlanta, respectively.

(Los Angeles Times)

Between 2005 and 2016, the Rams failed to advance to the playoffs. In four years with Goff as a starter, they’ve reached the wildcard round, the Super Bowl, and the division round.

The Rams declined to comment for this story because they are banned from doing so until the trade becomes official in March at the start of the league’s new year. The Lions sent them Stafford in exchange for Goff, a third-round pick this year and two top players in the following two years.

Goff, who before the 2019 season signed an extension that included a then-record $ 110 million in guarantees, is unsure when the tide has turned on him.

“It’s the hardest part right now trying to figure this out, when did that happen?” he said. “These are all conversations that I might or might not have, and try to understand. This is the conversation to have.

When asked if it was weird that he hadn’t had this discussion with the Rams yet, he replied, “A little, yes.”

This season, Goff has made 20 touchdowns, the least since his first year, with 13 interceptions. He also fumbled seven times, losing four.

After a loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Nov. 29, in which Goff had two interceptions and a fumble, Rams coach Sean McVay dropped his familiar self-blame and called Goff publicly for the first time, claiming the quarterback needed to take better care of him. soccer.

In the home stretch, tension mounted as Goff missed several chances in a loss to the New York Jets without a win.

But a pivotal moment came after sustaining a broken thumb to his throwing hand in the penultimate game in Seattle. Although Goff resisted the pain and finished the match, he had thumb surgery the next day.

“The next day my thumb was swollen to the point that I couldn’t move it,” Goff said. “It was as big as you can get your thumb. Huge. It was either the hope that the swelling will go down by this week, or have the surgery, miss a week and move on. It was clearly the best way to do it.

Rams wide receiver Robert Woods celebrates with quarterback Jared Goff.

Rams wide receiver Robert Woods (17) celebrates with quarterback Jared Goff (16) after a touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on November 23, 2020, in Tampa, Fla.

(Jason Behnken / Associated Press)

In the final against the Arizona Cardinals, substitute John Wolford, making his debut in the NFL, helped the Rams secure victory and advance to the playoffs.

Heading into a playoff debut in Seattle, Goff was still recovering from surgery, but felt ready to play. McVay chose to start Wolford and relegated Goff to the backup. But Wolford injured his neck in the first quarter and Goff came off the bench, touched and led the Rams to victory.

With Wolford ruled out, Goff started the divisional game at Green Bay and, despite a still healing thumb, managed for a touchdown and made no major mistakes.

After the game, McVay was asked if Goff was his quarterback. The coach qualified his response by saying that Goff was the quarterback “right now”. At a press conference the next day, McVay said there would be competition for every position, including the quarterback.

Two days later general manager Les Snead echoed McVay as Goff was the quarterback “right now”. Five days later, the Rams traded Goff.

“No matter how it ended, Sean and I had a great relationship and did so many great things together,” Goff said. “Won a bunch of big games. Won numerous playoff games. Won two divisions together. To have so much success on offense, so many good times and good memories.

“Unfortunately it ended bitterly, but that still doesn’t take all of those moments away from us.

Goff still has some open questions.

“When you hear it for the first time, it’s difficult, it’s disappointing,” he said. “But you’re so excited that you’re making a fresh start. You get to be somewhere that you believe in. It was clearly no longer the case here, and when it happened, I don’t know.

“There are still conversations to be had. These will shed some light, obviously, and I’ll be able to figure things out a bit more. But right now I want my post to be a grateful message to the city of LA and the Kroenke family. [who owns the team], and to the Rams organization for my time with them.

“It’s disappointing and unfortunate the way it ended, but there were so many good times and so many great victories, so many great memories in practice, in the locker room, in the meetings. This stuff will last me forever.

The son of a firefighter, Goff, he had participated in California Strong, a movement to help families who have lost their homes in recent years to forest fires. Last spring, Goff donated $ 250,000 to the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank – with a matching donation from Rams teammate Andrew Whitworth – after learning the coronavirus outbreak would impact students addicted to free lunches . He had worked with the Inglewood School District on initiatives involving elementary schools, including providing funds for a renovated library at Warren Lane Elementary, a project that is currently underway.

“LA has become my home for me,” said Goff, a Bay Area native. “It’s a place where I put my roots in the ground. Being able to affect the community of Inglewood over the past two years has been the most rewarding thing I have ever done in my life.

“One thing I’ve told them this year is, ‘It’s not a one-year thing. It’s not fair now. It is not a public relations movement. I’m going to be here a long time, and I’m going to be with you for a long time.

“Unfortunately, of course, things changed quickly. But that does not mean that I leave them, or that I am no longer involved in their community or that I help these children out of difficult situations and that I raise them. It will continue. “

Rams quarterback Jared Goff celebrates as he leaves the field after the team defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Rams quarterback Jared Goff celebrates as he leaves the field after the team defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on November 23, 2020 in Tampa, Fla.

(Jason Behnken / Associated Press)

Goff said he was “extremely disappointed and upset” learning the trade, but his mood brightened within 30 minutes of speaking to Lions, whose new CEO Brad Holmes was director of college scouting for Rams, and whose new offense coordinator is former Chargers coach Anthony Lynn.

Speaking to Lions, Goff said, “That’s what made me say, ‘Oh my God, that’s how I’m supposed to feel. It makes me feel good, “how excited they were, how excited they were.”

He added, “Over time these last few days, and even at the end of tonight, it turns positive and you start to feel really good about yourself again. You start to feel, I don’t mean relief is the word, but you start to feel happy, grateful, ready for a new opportunity. It was the greatest feeling that came over me that night, and even the following days.

“Of course you come and go and your emotions go everywhere. But for the most part, it’s that feeling of gratitude for what I’ve been able to do here and accomplish in LA, and at the same time the excitement for the city I’m from, the city I’m going to bring. passion for, and hopefully a lot of success for a long time.

“I’m not going to sit here and beat my own drum, but I’m very proud that I can be resilient, to have that in my makeup. We’ve had so many good times here and then there were times where I had to dig deep, be a man about it, and handle things the right way. I think I did that.

Times writer Gary Klein contributed to this story.

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